ANNAPOLIS, Md., June 2 (UPI) -- Maryland state officials said a petition drive challenging the state's new gun restrictions did not gather enough signatures to delay their implementation.
Critics of the new rules wanted to delay the regulations until after the November 2014 election; however, Secretary of State Stephen Ackerman said Saturday there were not enough signatures collected to force a public vote.
The challenge by gun-rights activists will likely now depend on a lawsuit the National Rifle Association has vowed to file, The Baltimore Sun said. The NRA has not said when it would file the suit.
Maryland's new gun-control law was passed in the wake of the December shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and bans the sale of 45 different assault rifles. It also includes fingerprinting and background checks for handgun buyers as well as barring people with serious mental illnesses from owning firearms.
The NRA declined to get involved in the Maryland petition drive and instead encouraged opponents to settle the matter in court, the Sun said. The NRA contended the right to bear arms should not be the subject of a public vote.
The Sun said public polls in Maryland found strong public support for the new regulations.